Governor Bill Haslam signed into law on Thursday a measure exempting public higher education employee performance evaluations from the public record, essentially correcting a public policy oversight in state law dealing with public employees. Since the passage of the TEAM Act in 2012, state service employee performance evaluations have not been part of the public record. The initial rationale of removing these evaluations from the public record centered on sound management practices: Having performance evaluations as part of the public record simply discouraged public managers from documenting needed areas of employee improvement. Without formal documentation of these matters, the State was left with no reliable evidence of employee performance.
Under the new law, public higher education employees will have the same confidentiality standards as state service employees, military personnel, and federal civil service employees. The University supported the measure as it addressed an important fairness issue and helped create an improved management tool. To be clear, this bill only addresses performance evaluations. Employee personnel files, email and phone records, and working documents remain part of the public record. The law is effective immediately.Tags: higher education employees, performance evaluations, public records, Tennessee, UT